Mason County's season-opening 48-21 victory over Danville last week had a couple nice story lines. It was David Buchanan's 100th win as Royals' coach, and it came in Mason County's first-ever game against the tradition-rich Admirals.
The Royals got big performances from quarterback Neal Pawsat (11 of 15 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns), halfback Josh Harris (51 yards and two TDs rushing, plus a 99-yard fumble return for a score), and receiver Colt Fearis (four catches, 59 yards, two TDs).
But the most interesting angle on Mason County's victory was the personal significance it had for Buchanan.
Forty years ago, John Buchanan, David's father, was in his first season as Boyle County's football coach. The Rebels, who didn't win a game the previous two years, beat Danville 8-6 on a blocked punt and safety.
A few years ago John Buchanan gave his son the 16-millimeter film of that game. After David watched it and transferred it to a DVD, he snipped a piece of the celluloid that he keeps in his wallet. "It means that much to me," he said.
John Buchanan, 66, was in the stands at Mason County last Friday to watch his son's team knock off Danville. "It was great to share that with my dad," David said. "It was very emotional."
The next morning David got a call from good friend Ray Graham, a long-time football coach who's now an assistant at Lexington Christian. Graham played on that 1969 Danville team, and his dad was later basketball coach at Boyle County. "Not a whole lot of folks understand what beating Danville means to me personally," Buchanan said. "But Ray does."
The last, but not least, footnote to Mason County's victory over Danville: Since 2001, John Buchanan has taught special education -- at Danville High School.
■ The KHSAA has finalized the times for this year's football championships at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green: Dec. 4 -- Class 4A finals, 11 a.m. (Central time), 2A finals, 3 p.m.; 6A finals, 7 p.m. Dec. 5 -- 1A finals, 11 a.m.; 3A finals, 3 p.m.; 5A finals, 7 p.m.
■ Nicholas County will celebrate "throw-back night" when it plays host to Fleming County on Friday. In a tribute to Carlisle High School, which closed in 1963, Nicholas County's players will wear green Carlisle Musketeers jerseys instead of their blue-and-white Bluejackets jerseys. Coach Robert Hopkins and the football alumni association came up with the idea. "Our Carlisle alumni are getting older, and we thought it'd be nice to honor their old school," Hopkins said. The Bluejackets are also looking to the future after opening the season with a 22-17 win over Bath County last week. Caleb Pope ran for 150 yards and a TD. Wes Hopkins had 11 solo tackles. And Cody Barnett anchored the offensive and defensive lines. "We're a young team that's looking to keep getting better," Hopkins said.
■ On its way to the Class 4A state title last year, Bell County allowed only 28 points in its first 12 games. Dudley Hilton's Bobcats allowed 42 points in a season-opening loss to Tennessee powerhouse Alcoa last week.
■ Fort Campbell QB Antonio Andrews started the season impressively for the two-time defending 2A champs. Andrews ran for 206 yards and four TDs, and passed for 157 yards and two TDs as the Falcons flew by Christ Presbyterian of Nashville, Tn., 55-26.
■ Less than two weeks after Jay Cobb resigned as Somerset football coach, the Briar Jumpers opened with a 24-22 win over Knox Central. Robbie Lucas, a Somerset assistant, is serving as interim coach. Cobb had been boss of the Briar Jumpers for 11 years and had a 82-48 record. He didn't give any reasons for resigning.
■ Austin Collinsworth rushed 16 times for 78 yards and two TDs to help Highlands beat Manual 19-8.
■ Louisville Central has used a rigorous regular-season schedule to toughen itself up for the playoffs the last two years. It's paid off in back-to-back 3A titles. Ty Scroggins' Yellowjackets have an even more challenging schedule this season. Its first six opponents are pretty good 6A teams. Central, which lost its opener to Seneca last week, faces Henry Clay on Saturday, followed by Ballard, Male, Manual and St. Xavier.
■ After going 0-11 last year, Glasgow beat Warren East 26-14 last week under new coach Rick Wood. Tavian Parrish ran 13 times for 130 yards and three TDs.
■ After Boyle County blasted Johnson Central 49-7 last week, Golden Eagles Coach Jim Matney told the Danville Advocate Messenger that he didn't appreciate some of Boyle County's play-calling late in the game. "We didn't think they needed to be running reverses and passes in the fourth quarter up 42. But aside from that, I'm not going to take anything away from coach (Larry) French, because he's a heck of a coach. They just beat us in every facet of the game."
■ When Seneca star QB DaMarcus Smith hurt his knee this summer and was sidelined for his junior season, a lot of people expected the RedHawks to struggle. But Jordan Bender took over at QB led Seneca to a surprising 44-26 win over two-time defending 3A champ Central last week. Bender passed for 267 yards and two TDs, and ran for 82 yards and a TD. "I had every bit of confidence in (Bender)," Coach Louis Dover told the Courier-Journal "He's a competitor. At first he hated it because he loves DaMarcus like a brother . . . but when the challenge came, he took it on."
■ After going 0-20 in its first two years of varsity football, Bishop Brossart got its first victory by beating Betsy Layne 22-19 last week.
■ Green County, one of the top rushing teams in the state last season, ran for 329 yards in its opening 28-7 win at Middlesboro. Sophomore Chavis McDermott (132 yards) and senior Ricky Garrett (110) led the way.
■ C.J. Penny, a first-team all-state basketball player at Anderson County last season, returned home to Lawrenceburg after less than a week at Southeastern Illinois, a junior college in Harrisburg, Ill. Penny told The Anderson News he has enrolled at Kentucky State, but wants to play at Georgetown.
■ Former Bryan Station basketball player Cameron Richardson will play college hoops at Eastern Wyoming Community College. That means 26 out of 27 Bryan Station seniors who have played for coach Champ Ligon over the last five years have at least started college.
■ Steve Smith, basketball coach of national power Oak Hill Academy and an Asbury College graduate, is recuperating after having his spleen removed. Smith, 53, told USA Today that he had an immune deficiency and had been suffering from headaches and flu-like symptoms.
■ St. Xavier junior Justin Thomas, who last week became the third youngest player to make the cut in a PGA Tour event, will play in the Clark County Cardinal Classic at Kearney Hill on Saturday. There will be a shotgun start at 1:30 p.m. St. X, Henry Clay, Lexington Catholic, Lexington Christian, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Madison Central and Covington Catholic are among the 18 teams entered. Besides Thomas, top individuals include Matt Anderson of Monroe County, Will Bishop of Dunbar, Parker Page of Ballard, Dagon Abdon of Greenup County, Cameron Beal of Greenwood and Kyle Wilshire of Scott County. St. Thomas, 16, made national news when he shot 65-72 and made the cut in the Wyndham Championships in Greensboro, N.C.
■ Findlay Prep (Nev.), which won a national high school basketball title last season, will play in the Humana Classic at Lexington Christian on Jan. 9. Findlay will play Mountain State Academy (W. Va.) in the last game of a triple-header. Scott County will face Male in the opener, followed by Clark County playing LCA.
■ Asbury College has signed three more baseball players: Andrew Rediford of Winchester Christian; Aaron Mann of West Jessamine, and Daniel Dadisman of Anderson County.
■ Former Jackson County and UK basketball player Sarah Elliott is an assistant girls' coach at Sheldon Clark. She had been playing professionally in Poland.
■ Owensboro Catholic fast-pitch softball coach George Randolph thinks the new rule, stretching the pitching distance from 40 to 43 feet, is a good thing. He has seen it used in other states. "We've played in Florida, and it was a little bit of an adjustment, but not anything drastic. I think the decision is two-fold -- to add more offense to the game, and to acquaint high school seniors to the distance they'll be pitching at in college." Randolph said the National Federation also may increase the size of the ball by an eighth of an inch.
■ Following a change in international competition, the National Federation of State High School Association has changed its rules so that high-tech swimsuits are no longer legal on the high school level, including full body suits for males.